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Dallas Morning News - June 23, 2016

Q.  I was given an Eden Climbing Rose as a gift. The rose came with about 4 canes and lots of healthy looking leaves. I planted the rose and the first two weeks it was beautiful and was developing two buds. Compost, greensand and molasses were used at planting. I use Garrett Juice for the fertilizer and also garlic pepper tea for insect control. The rose gets about 6 hours of sun starting with the morning sun. I have many other plants in this same bed with no problems. This section is slightly lower than the other parts of the flowerbed and gradually descends about 3 to 4 inches. Shortly after the 2nd week the Rose lost all of its leaves, none of which appeared to be on the ground. I left the rose in place and new leaves started growing on two sprigs and after about two days, those leaves disappeared. New growth just started. The leaves do not turn yellow, they do not curl, they are there one day and gone the next. Any help would be greatly appreciated.  G. H. Sherman, TX

A.  Loss of all the leaves represents major trauma. The huge amount of rain could be the issue. Over or under-watering could also be the issue. I hope you didn’t put the organic amendment down in the planting hole only.  Putting amendments different from the area soil into the backfill at planting time and creating a "pot" in the ground that doesn't drain well. The culprits could be rodents but the garlic pepper tea should keep them away.
A.  My Oklahoma Red Bud is leaking like rain. I washed tree with high pressure water in case it was aphids. Hasn’t stopped. Now Crepe Myrtles are weeping. Any ideas? R. L. Dallas, TX
A. Aphids are usually just a sign of temporary stress. Weather change can cause it for example. Expose the trunk flares, and if the aphids don't slow down, spray with orange oil at 1-2 oz. per gallon of water. Lemon joy soap will also work.
Q.  Where can I buy your products in Austin?  O. G. Austin, TX
A.  Made some calls and found that the following places have the Garrett Juice in stock. It isn't my product nor do we have any products for sale, but these nurseries do currently have many of the products I recommend. Red Barn, Country Side Nursery and Shoal Creek Nursery. You might also check the business listings section of
Q.  What a beautiful slideshow of your family's visit to Ireland and Easter Island. I'm looking forward to viewing the others. Thanks for posting them. We have gently sculpted, well established shrub and flowerbeds around our house and along the fence on our property's perimeter. It is so difficult to keep a sharp edge on these beds, separating them from the bermuda and Augustine grass with just mulch. I would like to buy and use a half moon steel edger to dig down about 4"-5" around all of the beds to make things neater and easier to mow but I worry that I will be cutting many of the shrubs' feeder roots if I do this. Would doing this be a good idea since I only want a natural edge without bricks or plastic edging of any kind? Your suggestions would be appreciated.  J. J. Irving, TX
A.  Don't think it would hurt the plants much. If you run into some larger tree roots, just be careful and try to work around them. Another possibility for you would be to use 1/8" lawn edging. It's a sturdy steel product that holds up well. I use and recommend the black color rather than green and it literally vanishes into the landscape.
Q.  Upon returning from a trip, my lavender blooms died. What do I do - trim or cut back?  S. H. Burleson, TX
A.  Yes and lightly fertilize with alfalfa meal or any organic fertilizer blend containing alfalfa.
Q.  The photo is one of several Hackberries invading my fence line. How would you remove them? I may be able to sever the base somewhat with my chain saw, but it may require some soil removal to expose the root for a good cut.  R. S. Justin, TX
A.  That's all you can do and then just chisel the trunks out of the fence or just wait and let them rot away. The trees will come back unless you can dig the stumps out or drill holes in them and fill the holes with molasses. When you are finished paint the chain link with flat black latex paint. It makes the fence virtually disappear.

Q.  Some of the plants in our vegetable garden appear to be suffering from poor pollination. What are the best insects to encourage for pollination help in the garden? Are honeybees the most important and how can we encourage them more?
A.  Well, it's not just bees and its not just insects. Many animals including birds, bats, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps, small mammals and of course, bees are pollinators. As they drink flower nectar, feed off of pollen or just rustle in the plants, they pick up pollen and transport these grains from plant to plant. Unfortunately, there is a decline of pollinator populations that is attributed to a loss in feeding and nesting habitats, air pollution, misuse of chemicals, diseases, and changes in climatic patterns. The best way to protect and encourage the pollinators is to help biodiversity by using lots of varying plants and working together to eliminate toxic pesticides to convert the world to organics. Enjoy these fascinating creatures in the meantime!
Q.  My husband and I just had new Celebration Bermuda grass put in our back yard. We have 2 Golden Retrievers that we love dearly. We want to take care of yard organically but do not have a clue how to this. What do we need to do to have a healthy bug free yard?  D. S. Waco, TX
A.  Use the basic organic program and keep the dogs off the turf when you are not with them. No problem when you are there with the dogs, but when left alone they will destroy the turf. While you are away, the dogs need to be left in a small dog run with a smooth concrete floor. It will be good for their feet and easy to clean. It needs to be in the shade or have a roof added. The basic program includes fertilizing with a dry organic fertilizer 1 to 3 times during the growing season and spraying Garrett Juice once a month.

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